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Diphtheria in Yemen (Update 2)

20 Feb 2018

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported on 10 February 2018 that probable diphtheria cases in Yemen have reached a total of 1032 (including 64 deaths). The most affected governorates are Ibb (407) and Al Hudaydah (133). Children under the age of 5 years represent 30% of probable cases and 47% of deaths.

Advice for travellers

  • Advice to Travellers

    Ensure the British Vaccination Schedule is complete including booster doses as teenagers.

    Travellers should be aware of:

    • Persistence of disease in many regions of the world to which unvaccinated individuals are susceptible.
    • Waning immunity from diphtheria vaccine with increasing age.
    • Ten-yearly boosters of vaccine should be given for travel to endemic areas particularly where individuals will be mixing with the local population (e.g. health workers, teachers, volunteers).
    • Aid workers travelling to regions with confirmed diphtheria outbreaks, who are thus likely to be exposed to infection, should be given a booster dose of a diphtheria-containing vaccine if they have not had one in the last 12 months. 

    For futher information see Diphtheria.